Where’s Greg Worshipping?

Over the last twelve and a half months, I have attended 45 worship services in 34 different congregations. Denominations The chart at right illustrates the number of churches I have visited by denominational affiliation (green), the number of services I have attended in congregations affiliated with each denomination (blue), and the percent of all worship services I have attended by denomination (yellow). 75% of all of my worship experiences have occurred in congregations affiliated Read More …

View from the Pew: 8 Sacred Spaces

Soon after relocating to Texas in September of 2015, I wrote "In Search of a Church," explaining a bit about the process my wife and I were undertaking to find a new community of faith to call our own.  During this process, I have posted a "view from the pew" photo most weeks on Facebook and Twitter. As someone who has spent most of his life working in a church and a good deal of that time in pastoral leadership, my ability to visit other congregations has been limited (and especially limited Read More …

Church Shopping: Not Happening Today

Almost a month ago I preached my last sermon as a Transitional Pastor before relocating across the country to start a new job in healthcare.  This change led my wife and I to begin our search for a church near our new home. The first Sunday we did not attend church as I was busy moving.  The next Sunday my wife and I visited a nearby Lutheran congregation (ELCA). The third Sunday we visited a local Presbyterian (PCUSA) congregation.  Today we will not be in church since I am traveling for Read More …

Mainline: Lacking Racial Diversity

Race related topics have been featured in the news more in recent months than any time I can recall.  Mainline Protestants generally tend to have healthy perspectives on race.  Such philosophical and even theological understandings do not necessarily translate into action (for example: read my summary and reflection of Bradley Wright's recent research showing that Mainline Protestant congregations had the highest rate of discrimination to prospective visitors) nor do they lead to racially Read More …

Popular Presbyterians

Last week I happened upon a chart showing how common certain words related to mainline Protestantism appeared in the New York Times.   I was immediately intrigued to see that Presbyterians have received better coverage than others since 1860 and that the use of the term peaked in 1937, appearing that year in 2,149 articles. After determining how to create my own charts, I made one reflecting the names of the four traditions with which I have had formal affiliation:  Christian Church Read More …

Learning from Trader Joe’s

Becca Messman, associate pastor at Trinity Presbyterian Church (Herndon, VA), recently wrote about how the church could learn from her favorite grocery store: Trader Joe's.  Her piece, published in the Presbyterian Outlook, considers how Presbyterians would do well to study this "quirky, small-by-design chain of grocery stores that is clearly not trying to be any of its competitors."  Her suggestions, of course, transcend her denominational affiliation. Messman recommends that churches learn Read More …

Fencing Out the Homeless

On any given night, many homeless people sleep in an alley between Central Presbyterian Church (Atlanta, GA) and the Catholic Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.  Those who do so not only feel safer than they do in other parts of the city, but also have direct access to the many outreach services provided by these congregations. Recently, however, the governing body of Central Presbyterian voted in favor of a proposal to build a fence to keep homeless people out of their alley.  This Read More …

Christian Youth: Learning and Living the Faith

Princeton Theological Seminary was recently awarded a $1.1 million grant from Lilly Endowment Inc. to fund a study that will "provide church leaders with strategies to help children connect with their religion."  This study of confirmation in five denominations - United Methodist, Presbyterian, Evangelical Lutheran, Episcopal and African Methodist Episcopal - will include two elements: : (1) a survey of youth and parents about their beliefs, and  (2) research that will involve visiting churches Read More …

Review of But I Don’t See You as Asian

Meet the Author Bruce Reyes-Chow is an ordained Presbyterian pastor, and 3rd generation Chinese/Filipino.  He is a consultant who previously served as founding pastor of Mission Bay Community Church. His effective use of social media while serving as moderator of the General Assembly of the 2.3 million member PCUSA helped many mainline leaders appreciate the value of social media for ministry. Reyes-Chow has written two e-books: The Definitive-ish Guide for Using Social Media in the Church  Read More …

Living or Loving?

Bob Bohl is the former moderator of the Presbyterian Church (USA) and pastor of Village Presbyterian Church.  He is currently chairman of the Board of Trustees at Princeton Theological Seminary.  In a sermon entitled "Living In the Direction of God's Dream," he offered these challenging words: I believe there are at least two kinds of churches...one is a living church and the other is a loving church. There is a distinct difference between the two. Living churches are judged by their size, Read More …